Over and over during the debate on anchor housing, we have been told that the CUL has been working on this idea for 5 years and that most of those deeply involved with the process agreed, and had agreed for several years, that an anchor model was best for Williams.

The only problem with these claims is that they are not true. Consider what a CUL member had to say in 2002:

If the anchor affiliation system is developed as we [CUL] envision, students would be randomly assigned to an anchor house as an incoming first-year. This would provide an opportunity for first-years to meet upperclassmen; it shouldn’t detract from the JA system, but this is something we would have to monitor and respond to. The anchor affiliation system would have no bearing on housing – your suitemates could all have different anchor houses, and you would be drawn to your anchor house through food (what else?).

“No bearing on housing”? Yeah, riiiight. The point here is that, up until quite recently, almost everyone thought that the CUL was working on a plan that would have left campus-wide room draw as it was. Even someone as obsessively focussed on Williams news as I was shocked to discover this January that anchor housing meant restricting students to one of five separate clusters.

Even as late as January 2004, the official line was that anchor housing would still allow students to live wherever they wanted.

Though we insist that students remain allowed to choose their own housing independent of the anchor house system — a demand that RLAG [Residential Life Advisory Group — including Professor Will Dudley and other CUL luminaries] agrees is essential — even non-residential affiliations with anchor houses carry the potential to create bonds between students that are all but impossible today in lieu of participation in bodies such as varsity athletic teams and student groups.

Few would complain about “anchor housing” if it meant the same thing today as it did a year ago. The reason that CUL faced such little opposition until 3 months ago is that virtually no one knew what they were up to. Whose fault is that? Not EphBlog’s.

This is, of course, a small point. If anchor housing is a great plan, than it does not matter when CUL came up with it. But the last grasp of the anti-anchor folks depends on their ability to convince the powers-that-be that there are certain questions, unanswered in the CUL’s report, that need to be answered. Their case is strengthen by the fact that anchor housing, in its currrent meaning, is a recent plan.

The most important change in student life at Williams in 40 years should not be rushed.

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